Global War on Terror Wall of Remembrance
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
To make our country better – to make it stronger – to make it safer.
The Wall of Remembrance is an emotional journey of pride, loss, perseverance and extreme gratitude. We have lost men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and lovers.
September 11, 2001 started out as a normal day for many but ended in a day of shock, horror and grief for all Americans. It became a day that reminds us that loss never gets easier. It reminds us that we are a country of great sacrifice.
The firefighters, police officers and citizens that ran back into buildings to save anyone they could will always be remembered. The lives of people on Flights 11, 175 and 77 were ended as they were flown into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but not before putting up a fight – and not before calling their loved ones to let them know they love them.
The brave men and women of Flight 93 refused to let the terrorists successfully hit another target – and instead – sacrificed their own lives.
All acts were the sheer act of selflessness – the ultimate gift from one human being to another.
Their last messages were those of love.
There were men and women who received phone calls within hours of the tragic event and were on planes being deployed less than 12 hours later. The call was made and they answered. The Wall serves as a reminder to what answering that call can mean. It can mean never seeing your parents, or children, family or partner again. It can mean leaving and coming home to a broken home. It can mean losing those who serve right next to you – standing right next to you.
It is well known that freedom comes at a cost. It is a heavy debt that can never be repaid. Those who serve do it because they have a sense of pride and duty to our country. They believe in it wholeheartedly and commit to it. And many do with their lives – every day – and never think twice.
Those who served and sacrificed have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms granted by the Constitution. Their sacrifice paved and will continue to pave the way for our voice.
So, this Memorial Day and every other day that I can wake up in a country where I can practice my religion, write these words and have a daughter who can grow up to be president of this great nation, is owed to those who decided that our freedom is worth losing everything. That is the reality.
The Global War on Terror Wall of Remembrance was here in the San Jacinto Valley at VFW Post 2266 from May 26 through Memorial Day.
Richard Nichols Jr. called designer David Brown (USMC Retired) to design the wall after visiting New York and experiencing the impact from Ground Zero. They did not just want to list names, but incorporate an educational element with a timeline from 1983 to present. Written on the side of the wall with the timeline is “The memorial was finished on September 8, 2011 and debuted that weekend in Anaheim, California to more than 10,000 visitors. With that experience and exposure, Richard and David decided that the wall needed to travel.
“Derek Hendershot, a United States Marine, was asked to be the escort for our nation’s fallen, heroes and victims. He has been traveling with the wall since June 2013.
“This is the second version of the Wall of Remembrance. The first version was retired on 25 May 2016.”